Phishing scams and attempts to compromise email accounts are an everyday occurrence posing a consistent threat to our network. Behind the scenes, the Office of Information Technology Services (OITS) has in place a variety of technology tools to capture these malicious intrusions; however, the phishing scams are becoming more sophisticated, making it difficult for the technology to keep up.

One of the most popular phishing attempts takes the form of an email attempting to persuade the recipient to either click on an attachment or enter personal identifiable information after clicking on a link embedded in the email. The College uses spam detection appliances from Barracuda to quarantine unsolicited emails. However, as of late, we’ve been seeing an increase in emails getting through to your inbox despite the parameters placed on Barracuda. In order to address this, OITS will be increasing the detection-level parameters.

How will this impact you? If the Barracuda appliance identifies an email as a phishing attempt, you will be emailed a spam quarantine summary providing you with the ability to deliver, whitelist, delete, or view suspect emails. If Barracuda does not identify any emails that are flagged as spam or phishing attempts, then you will not receive this summary.

You may take the following actions with respect to emails that have been quarantined. Please note that these actions are managed by you and not by OITS:

  • Deliver messages – if you select the deliver message option, the message will be delivered to your inbox; however, future messages from this sender will continue to be quarantined unless you also whitelist the message.
  • Whitelist messages – future emails from this sender will automatically be delivered to your inbox. If you want this particular message in your inbox, you will need to also select deliver.
  • Delete messages – if you select the delete messages option the message will be permanently removed from the Barracuda firewall. The main reason to delete messages is to help you keep track of which quarantine messages you have reviewed. You cannot recover messages you have deleted.
  • View messages – brings up the quarantined message to view. If you wish to have it delivered to your inbox you will need to select both whitelist and deliver. If you only select deliver the message will continue to be quarantined.

In summary, if a message has been quarantined and you would like to have it delivered to your inbox in the future, you will need to first whitelist the message and then select deliver.

Messages shown in your Spam Quarantine Summary are not in your Inbox. They are being held in the Barracuda Spam Firewall for a duration of 30 days. After 30 days, the quarantined messages will be removed from the Barracuda Spam Firewall and become unavailable to you.

Raising the detection parameters will undoubtedly cause some legitimate emails to be flagged as spam. This will require your vigilance. Your spam quarantine summary will be mailed out in the morning, but only if the spam appliances have detected any of your incoming email as spam. If you want to view your spam quarantine summary throughout the day (in case you are expecting an email and it is not being delivered) you can go online and log in with your FLAS credentials.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or call the HelpDesk at 718.982.HELP.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation in helping to secure the safety of our network and protecting your personal information.